Fellowship Programme

Apply for a UNU-BIOLAC fellowship

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UNU-BIOLAC is accepting applications for our Fellowship Programme 2024. Following our mission to build biotechnology capacities within the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, we aim to help prepare and capacitate professionals through high-level, short-term internships. These activities are to be co-funded by UNU-BIOLAC throughout the LAC countries and, in some cases, in other parts of the world to be carried out in highly-reputed centres in diverse fields of biotechnology.


Applications are sought from LAC graduate students and researchers who pursue the highest level of research excellence with a demonstrated passion for delivering social impact in biotechnology. All candidates must have been accepted by the receiving institution and supported by a sending institution before proceeding with the application.


Each UNU-BIOLAC fellow is expected to perform specialised research in biotechnology at a laboratory in the LAC region for three months — or in other selected ally institutions outside of LAC for six months.

All fellows must deliver a final technical report that includes their main findings and fulfil all other initial requests to attain the completion of their fellowships. Among others, 1) to present a written statement of achieved objectives, 2) to record a testimonial video about the experience, and 3) to upload content on social media reflecting the experimental work carried out through the research stay and the expansion of their collaborative and professional network. It is expected that if the results are published, UNU-BIOLAC will receive due recognition.

To perform their research fellowship, each funded fellow will receive a single stipend of USD 4000 (3-month internships) or USD 7000 (6-month internships) for travel and living expenses. Insurance will also be paid by UNU-BIOLAC separately. Hosting institutions could also apply for funds through bench fees of USD 500 per visit month for the 3-months internships.

Research fields

This call is open to graduate students and researchers/academics from Latin America and the Caribbean whose research focus is biotechnology sensu stricto. These must be engaged in active research or pursuit of new research opportunities in, but not limited to, high-throughput and deep sequencing of genomes, metagenomic analysis and the discovery, characterisation and/or expression of new genes and biological functions in homologous or heterologous systems, creation and use of new biomaterials, engineering of genes, genomes, tissues and organs, whole organisms or even complete communities, drug discovery, vaccine development, omics technologies, fight against disease in plants and animals (including humans), etc.

For 2024, UNU-BIOLAC is encouraging fellows to delve into 1) the use of biotechnology as a means to solve problems of a scientific nature and 2) the generation of biotechnological solutions/products derived from basic or applied science.


The UNU-BIOLAC Fellow activity is committed to biotechnology for social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, favoured fellows are expected to train others at their place of origin, promote the impact of their research to a broad audience, engage in policy debate, and foster international and interdisciplinary biotechnological research.


15 November 2023

Application Process

All applicants should download and complete all mandatory documentation in English and submit it with the application form to applications.biolac@unu.edu.

Please refrain from submitting any application that is not related to biotechnology or is not complete. Contact the Programme only to submit your proposal or request specific clarifications. The rules will not change to meet individual demands, nor will third parties be invited or allowed to influence the outcome of the selection process.

The email must have the following format:

*Subject: Fellowship Application 2024: “Name of the applicant”

Email content:

  • Name of the applicant
  • Short explanation of the biotechnological nature of the proposal (no more than 300 words)
  • Proposed dates for the Fellowship

Mandatory attachments

All applications will be reviewed by at least three international evaluators and the UNU-BIOLAC’s Programme Head. It is required that all documents be submitted in English. The final decision will be informed the following month after UNU-BIOLAC receives the application.


  1. Please be informed that incomplete applications will be automatically rejected. Hence, applicants must be careful to send all requirements enlisted above.
  2. We recommend cleaning your cache and cookies before downloading the form. This is to avoid downloading an old format. All applicants must send the Working plan for 2024, or else the application will be automatically rejected.

For this specific call, you can apply for:

  • A 3-month fellowship in any LAC country
  • A 6-month fellowship in ICGEB
  • A 6-month fellowship in Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey at the Alvarez-Trujillo Laboratory:
    • Any interested student should contact Dr Grissel Trujillo de Santiago via email: grissel@tec.mx
    • Fellowship will be focused on Chaotic 3D Bioprinting
    • Previous experience in Cell culture is highly desirable


UNU-BIOLAC is an equal opportunity institution. No applicant for our academic or research activities shall be discriminated against in any term or condition because of gender, race, colour, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, sex, or sexual orientation.

Frequently asked questions

  • Who is eligible for a fellowship?

    Only citizens from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) currently living in the Americas are eligible for UNU-BIOLAC fellowships. Fellowships do not cover long-term study such as master’s degrees or PhD programmes.

  • Where can fellowships and/or academic activities take place?

    The activities funded by UNU-BIOLAC can only take place at institutions located in countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region. In exceptional cases, when signed agreements allows, special calls will be made for a limited number of fellowships per year outside of the region.

  • Is it possible to apply for a grant from UNU-BIOLAC to attend a course?

    No. Short-term fellowship grants offered by UNU-BIOLAC are for conducting research for a period of three months (or six months, depending on the case) in a country different from the home institution of the applicant. Fellowships do not include participation in scientific courses or meetings, even those sponsored by UNU-BIOLAC. A limited number of Travel grants are available here.

  • When is the fellowship application period?

    There are two ordinary calls per year. All applications will be made a year in advance.

  • What does the UNU-BIOLAC fellowship cover?

    UNU-BIOLAC’s funds are a fixed amount of USD 4,000 to be spent by the fellow for all research activity needs: air ticket, lodging, food, and transportation, among others. Additionally, the fellow will also be provided with health insurance for the duration of the fellowship.

  • When will I receive my fellowship funding?

    Depending on the case, the funds will be sent directly to the fellow during the first’s days of the fellowships. If not possible, they will be paid through UNDP’s offices in the receptor country during the first weeks. Taking this into consideration, it is important that the fellow can cover any expenses before the fund receival.

  • What are counterpart funds and how much is needed?

    Counterpart funds come from another institution that is financially supporting your research, so that you can afford other expenses that may arise during your stay. It is important to mention that counterpart funds can be to cover air tickets, as UNU-BIOLAC’s funds will not be received before the research takes place. UNU-BIOLAC will not be responsible if the funds provided are not sufficient for the living expenses during the fellowship.

  • What is a bench fee and how can I apply for it?

    This is part of the funds that the fellow is awarded for the research and is to be received by the host institution laboratory. An amount of USD 500 per month can be used for laboratory expenses and other related needs during the research. The money is to be delivered after each month ends. To apply for bench fee funding, complete the Bench Fee Request Form for each month (up to three times).

  • What is a vendor form?

    This is a UNU form used to submit banking information to allow for transfer of the fellowship funding. If the host institution is to request the Bench fee, the fellow must provide their banking information.

  • Should I justify my expenses?

    Fellows are not required to report expenses, only the final research results through the Final Report.

  • Can I receive payment of funds through a personal account?

    No. UNU regulations do not allow payments to personal accounts for fellowships; they must be transferred through a host institutions or a UNDP office.

  • When will I have access to the funds?

    The funds will be available upon your arrival at the host country’s UNDP office.

  • What documents will I need to retrieve my funds?

    For most UNDP offices you will be required to present your passport or any photo ID. If further actions or support are necessary, we will let you know.

  • When can I do my research fellowship?

    Calls for fellowship proposals occur once per year. All proposals should stipulate a maximum three-month stay scheduled for the following year.

  • Is there any special documentation required for my fellowship?

    You will need to go to the embassy/consulate of the country you are meant to visit to obtain more information regarding the mandatory requirements for visas or entry documents. UNU-BIOLAC does not sponsor any kind of visa.

  • When can I do my research fellowship?

    Calls for fellowship proposals occur once per year. All proposals should stipulate a maximum 3-month stay scheduled for the following year.

  • When should I confirm my fellowship dates?

    You must send a letter signed by your host supervisor confirming your dates of stay at least one month prior to your fellowship.

  • If I already opted for a fellowship and it was granted, can I apply for another fellowship?

    No, only in exceptional cases, very well justified, UNU-BIOLAC will consider granting a second fellowship grant.

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